Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

New SNAP Eligibility in California Associated With Improved Food Security and Health.



In California, Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries were ineligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits until a June 2019 policy change. The objective of this study was to determine whether SNAP eligibility was associated with changes in food insecurity and health among older adults and adults with disabilities.


We administered a survey to SSI recipients (N = 213) before (May-August 2019) and after (September 2019-January 2020) the policy change. We examined changes in food insecurity (primary outcome), health status, stress, medication adherence, and dietary intake from baseline to follow-up. Multivariable analyses adjusted for age, sex/gender, race/ethnicity, and education.


Of 213 participants at baseline, 56.8% were male, 43.7% were Black/African American, 88.7% had an annual income of less than $15,000, and 89.7% were currently housed. Of 157 participants at follow-up, 114 (72.6%) were newly enrolled in SNAP. At follow-up, compared with baseline, participants were less likely to report food insecurity (83.1% vs 67.5%, P < .001), required less additional money for food ($73.33 vs $47.72 weekly, P < .001), were more likely to report excellent/very good health (26.8% vs 27.6%, P < .001), and were less likely to report cost-related medication nonadherence (24.1% vs 17.7%, P < .001) or use free food programs (82.6% vs 74.5%, P < .001). We found no changes in dietary intake.


SNAP uptake rates were high after the policy change. Policies that support older adults and adults with disabilities to enroll in or maintain SNAP benefits may improve health outcomes.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View